Mass for migrants in Mexican wilderness

By |2 April 2014|

US bishops celebrated Mass for migrants on the US-Mexico border. Caritas and the US Bishops work together prompting the rights of migrants who are children.

Lenten 2014 message: Equality, simplicity and sharing

By |5 March 2014|

Lenten message from Cardinal Oscar Andrès Rodríguez Maradiaga SDB, President of Caritas Internationalis."Each of us can live more simply, consume less, waste less and be more conscious of our choices."

Caritas to launch global wave of prayer to end hunger

By |29 November 2013|

The Caritas confederation will launch a global “wave of prayer” to promote an end to world hunger on 10th December. It marks the beginning of the Caritas anti-hunger campaign, One Human Family, Food For All. The wave starts on the island of Samoa and will sweep across the globe involving Caritas organisations and many other people on all continents.

A refugee remembers Syria

By |30 October 2013|

The nostalgia for what Syria was – and the effort to convey that longing to others – seems to be for so many refugees the last grip on a normal life, to keep themselves from losing their minds.

How Pope Benedict changed charity

By |25 September 2013|

Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga addressed the Plenary Assembly of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) on 24 September in Sainte-Adèle, Quebec, Canada.
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    ‘Everything has been destroyed and nearly everyone has been robbed’ – Central Africa Republic

‘Everything has been destroyed and nearly everyone has been robbed’ – Central Africa Republic

By |2 May 2013|

Reports coming out of Bangui paint a brutal picture of fear and violence with no end in sight. No one feels safe and help and comfort are hard to come by as the violence persists.

Catholic Peacebuilding conference

By |18 April 2013|

Catholic leaders, academics, and U.S. government officials addressed Catholic peacebuilding and U.S. foreign policy at a major conference, Peacebuilding 2013: Pacem in Terris at 50, April 9-10, at The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC.

Mali Crisis: A young mother’s story

By |21 February 2013|

By Helen Blakesley

Djélika Haïdara pushes a plaited braid off her face and hitches her five month-old son higher onto her hip. She leans down to look into the metal pot that’s simmering on the wood stoked stove, placed on the kitchen floor. Cooking has been her main occupation since they left Timbuktu. Since they fled in fear for their lives.

The day the rebels came, Djélika was sitting in the classroom with the other students, as she always did. Listening carefully to the teacher. It was her favorite lesson, physics and chemistry. Then the gunshots started, startling the teenagers sitting in their neat rows behind their desks. The rebels weren’t far away. Their stray bullets were finding innocent victims in the small school building. Some students fainted, others hid, still others were hit—and a number died.

Djélika was pregnant at the time. A newly wed bride carrying her first son. She […]

HIV prevention: “Where are the men?”

By |8 November 2012|

Catholic Church-inspired organisations discuss lack of involvement among men in the prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission By Msgr. Robert J. Vitillo, Caritas Internationalis Special Advisor on HIV/AIDS and Francesca Matera, Geneva delegation volunteer In many countries, pregnant women must seek permission from their husbands before accessing a simple HIV test that could be the determining factor for future health, illness or even death, both for themselves and their babies. Some women do not return for their test results because they fear the negative, or even violent, reactions of their husbands should the test be positive for HIV. And some HIV-positive women refuse to avail themselves of prevention of mother to child transmission (PMTCT) programmes, again out of fear of male reactions and rejection from the extended family.

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    On board trains to the United States, migrants are not alone

On board trains to the United States, migrants are not alone

By |16 March 2012|

It is 7:30pm, in Amatlan, in the province of Cordoba Veracruz. The train whistle blows in the distance. In Norma Romero Vazquez’ kitchen, headquarters of the “Patronas ”, women bustle about.. Carmen, 90, the oldest of the women in the family, takes a crate filled with bags of food.

Along with her daughters and granddaughters, Carmen goes to the railway that passes about ten meters away from her house. Over a distance of a kilometer, the fifteen women share the crates out between themselves. When the light of the train appears, they get as close as possible to the tracks and stretch out their arms laden with food bags. “God bless you”, cry the migrants aboard the goods train. In a few minutes, the train has gone. Back to Norma’s kitchen.

For over 15 years, Carmen, Norma and the others have been handing out food, clothing and medicines to the migrants on […]

Mali refugees in Niger need clean water

By |9 March 2012|

By Helen Blakesley and Caritas Internationalis staff American Caritas member Catholic Relief Services, Caritas Niger (SECADEV) and its partners are mobilising emergency water, hygiene and sanitation facilities to meet the urgent needs of thousands of Malian refugees in neighbouring Niger. Fighting in northern Mali between the army and a rebel group has forced more than 100,000 people to flee their homes. Nearly half have stayed in Mali, and the others have crossed borders seeking refuge in neighbouring countries. According to the United Nations, around 25,000 people have crossed into Niger since the end of January—two-thirds of them Malian refugees and a third, Nigeriens. An estimated 500 people are arriving every day. Most of the refugees are living in open-air shelters made of blankets stretched over sticks. They face extreme temperatures—the heat of the day and then cold at night—in the Sahelien desert zone. Many came on foot, leaving behind most […]

Migrants risk all to cross from Mexico to the US

By |7 March 2012|

Human smuggling is a boom business according to the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, with the profits in the billions (over $32 billion in 2005). Caritas Internationalis says that while every country has the right to regulate immigration, restrictive measures are simply encouraging people to resort to more dangerous and expensive channels of migration.

Fleeing Somalia: the men who kill for goats

By |27 July 2011|

By Laura Sheahen

“Aden, my oldest son, was four years old. He was watching our goats,” says Ahada, a Somali woman in her early twenties. “Men with guns came and wanted the animals. Aden shouted, ‘Don’t take our goats!’”

Ahada’s small son was caught in the midst of the chaotic, seemingly never-ending war in Somalia. Armed bandits, militias and other violent groups terrorize the country’s rural population, who are mostly nomadic herdsmen. Children are not spared. Aden wasn’t.

Aden was shot and killed in the midst of a drought that was leading to famine. Ahada’s husband was also killed by militants. After that she knew she had to flee. She’d heard of a country called Kenya, so she took her two children there, crossing the border.

Thousands of other mothers were making the journey as well. Thirty-year-old Hawa, a mother of seven, was eight months pregnant as she walked for ten days, carrying […]

Ethiopia’s failing rains

By |27 July 2011|

By David Snyder

You are not expecting rain when you come to cover a drought. But that’s what I found when I stepped off of the plane here Sunday—and what I have seen each day since. Rain. Looking around at the green of the hillsides, you could easily be fooled about the real problems facing the people here. But it doesn’t take much digging to learn how much trouble looms, where the rain now falling comes far too late to avert a crisis for as more than 11 million people.

I spent yesterday visiting several projects around  Dira Dawa A, a zone of eastern Ethiopia that has been hard hit by the failure earlier this year of the first of the country’s two rainy seasons. With the failure of the short rains, which normally fall from February to June, millions were unable to gather a harvest. Worse still, they were unable […]

Somalis face perilous journey to escape famine

By |25 July 2011|

By Laura Sheahen,

Death by starvation, death by lions and hyenas or death by armed bandits. Which do you pick? For refugees streaming out of Somalia, there’s no luxury of choice. They’re facing all three.

Carrying babies in front and toddlers piggyback, clutching small plastic bags of belongings, thousands of Somalis are trudging barefoot for dozens or hundreds of miles. For months, as no rains fell in their homeland, they watched their cattle and goats die of thirst and hunger. Their stocks of corn or flour ran out, and they watched their children growing thinner and weaker. Finally, they gave up hoping that something would change and they left.

They travel in groups of about 50 because danger is all around them: ambushes by men with guns are common in the area. So when they see something threatening in the distance, they run for what cover they can find—not easy in empty […]

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